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  #11  
Old 07-07-2017, 11:03 PM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Ralph, that poem is beautiful. Lyric Fourteeners. Thank you for sharing it.
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  #12  
Old 07-08-2017, 01:13 AM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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I'd love to know who did the translations!

BTW, depressing poetry is an old tradition--from the Greek Anthology (Dudley Fitts translation):

Theognis:

The best of all things it were, never to be born,
never to know the light of the strong sharp sun;
but being born,
the best of all is to pass as soon as may be
to Hades' gate,
to hades' gate there to lie dead,
lost, locked beneath the world's huge weight.

Kallimachos:

Timon, since you are dead,
which do you hate more, the darkness or the light?
The darkness, man:
The darkness, manthere are more of you here in Hell.

Ptolemaios:

Ask neither my name nor my country, passers-by:
My sole wish is that all of you may die.

Palladas:

In silence walk your wretched span; in silence
be like Time, that passes silently.
And live unheeded:
And live unheeded: you shall be so, once dead.

Aaron, no doubt you have better translations of these!

Martin
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  #13  
Old 07-08-2017, 01:22 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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Martin,

I didn't know the Ptolemaios epigram--that is harrowing.
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  #14  
Old 07-08-2017, 03:50 AM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Here are two more--from Kenneth Rexroth's translations. The first is the Palladas again:

Let this life of worry
pass by in silence, as
silent as Time itself.
Live unknown, and so die.

The second is by Glykon:

Nothing but laughter, nothing
but dust, nothing but nothing,
no reason why it happens.
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  #15  
Old 07-09-2017, 09:56 PM
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Quincy Lehr Quincy Lehr is offline
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[Nah, not worth it. There is more to be said, but there are probably better venues to say it.]
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  #16  
Old 07-11-2017, 11:22 PM
Allen Tice Allen Tice is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post
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Very strong.
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  #17  
Old 07-12-2017, 12:49 AM
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RCL RCL is offline
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"Cultural Appropriation"

It’s a recent PC concept I truly hate, but I despise the Russians more, so I would say a Russian echoing Armenians (or Georgians or Ukrainians, et al, of the former Soviet Union) in a poem is an act of “cultural appropriation,” just as it was when they took the countries that they cobbled into the monstrous USSR. Aaron, I’d much prefer to read your poem about Armenians!
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  #18  
Old 07-13-2017, 01:07 PM
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AZ Foreman AZ Foreman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Poochigian View Post
I have been devouring "The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry."
Turn to page 108 and you'll find one of mine
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  #19  
Old 07-15-2017, 09:02 AM
Aaron Poochigian Aaron Poochigian is offline
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AZ, I enjoyed the pieces by Fyodor Tyutchev very much. There he was, one of the greatest Russian lyric poets, and I knew nothing about him.

Here's the poem you translated:

The sacred night has scaled the sky and rolled
the day of cheer, the day of graciousness
up and away like a great golden shroud:
a shroud, spread over an abyss.
The outer world is over like a vision,
as Man, a homeless orphan, takes his place
in naked helplessness to stand alone
before the big black of unfathomed space.

He is abandoned to his very self.
His mind is orphaned, thought is nullified.
He plummets through the fissure of his soul
with no support or limit from outside.
As all things of the living and the light
seem but a dream to him, a dream long past,
in the unsolved, the strange, the very night,
he feels a fateful heritage at last.
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  #20  
Old 07-20-2017, 12:31 AM
John Isbell John Isbell is offline
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I'm posting this morning from a cafe in Almaty, so Soviet poems seem topical. Here's my own favorite depressing Soviet poem:

The Stalin Epigram
Osip Mandelstam, 1891 - 1938

Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
At ten paces you can’t hear our words.

But whenever there’s a snatch of talk
it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,

the ten thick worms his fingers,
his words like measures of weight,

the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,
the glitter of his boot-rims.

Ringed with a scum of chicken-necked bosses
he toys with the tributes of half-men.

One whistles, another meows, a third snivels.
He pokes out his finger and he alone goes boom.

He forges decrees in a line like horseshoes,
One for the groin, one the forehead, temple, eye.

He rolls the executions on his tongue like berries.
He wishes he could hug them like big friends from home.


From Against Forgetting, edited by Carolyn Forché, translated by W.S. Merwin and Clarence Brown, published by W.W. Norton & Co. Copyright © 1989 by W.S. Merwin. Reprinted by permission of W.S. Merwin. All rights reserved.
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